Mon. Sep 1, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Coach Ron Rivera reiterated Monday that he expects Newton (ribs) to start Sunday's game against the Bucs, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: According to Rivera, Newton (who practiced Monday for the first time since cracking a rib against the Patriots on Aug. 22) is still "sore but it's not like it was when (the injury) first happened." Assuming no setbacks as the week continues, Newton should be good to go in Week 1, presumably while sporting some form of flak jacket to protect his rib area.
Mon. Sep 1, 2014 | STATS
News: Newton returned to the practice field wearing an oversized flak jacket designed to provide added protection for his fractured ribs. Newton smiled and even stopped to pose for a picture Monday with his newly enhanced armor before walking into practice, throwing passes and going through drills as normal.
Impact: It was the Newton's first practice since Aug. 22 when he had his ribs stepped on during a preseason game against the New England Patriots.
Mon. Sep 1, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Olsen (personal) returned to practice Monday, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: With Olsen, who was away from the team last week following his son's heart surgery, back at practice, the tight end appears on track to suit up for the Panthers' season opener against the Bucs on Sunday.
Tavarres King - #12 - Wide Receiver - 6'1" - 200lbs
Sat. Aug 30, 2014 | RotoWire
News: The Panthers have cut King, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: King's departure bodes well for the roster prospects of Brenton Bersin and Philly Brown, though we wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers hit the waiver wire for wideout help in the wake of NFL roster cut-downs.
Derek Anderson - #3 - Quarterback - 6'6" - 230lbs
Thu. Aug 28, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Anderson will not return to Thursday's game due to a right hand injury.
Impact: If Anderson's injury turns out to be serious, the team could find themselves considerably thin at the backup quarterback position. Although Cam Newton seems confident he'll be ready for Week 1, the team would have to turn to Joe Webb in the case that neither Newton or Anderson are able to go. Anderson's status should be updated by the team later in the evening, or at some point this weekend.
News: Olsen (personal) will not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Steelers, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Rather than travel with the team to Pittsburgh, Olsen will stay back in Charlotte to watch over his son's recovery from open-heart surgery. His son is reportedly doing well after undergoing the procedure earlier in the week, and if he continues to progress as expected, Olsen will rejoin the team next week and play in the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay. "A lot depends on his recovery status," Olsen said via text message Wednesday. "But he's doing well now, so hope that continues."
Wed. Aug 27, 2014 | STATS
News: Newton says he feels great and "there's no doubt" in his mind he'll be ready to play in the Panthers season opener Sept. 7 against Tampa Bay.
Impact: Carolina's fourth-year quarterback is recovering from a hairline fracture to multiple ribs and says he's improving with each day.
News: Hardy (shoulder) will travel for Thursday's preseason finale in Pittsburgh, but is no guarantee to play, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Hardy has been held out of practice this week while nursing a bruised shoulder, but will travel with the Panthers for Thursday's last exhibition outing anyway. In the unexpected event that Hardy plays some versus the Steelers, it certainly won't be for long. Carolina is focused on having Hardy as healthy as possible in advance of Week 1, so it wouldn't be surprising if Hardy is reduced to a glorified spectator at Thursday's contest.
News: Newton (ribs) says there is "no doubt in (his) mind" he'll play in Week 1 versus the Buccaneers, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Newton has been ruled out of action this week after suffering a hairline fracture to his ribs last Friday, but all indications point strongly to him being ready for Week 1. With the stiffness in his ribs reportedly dissipating with each day, Newton should return in some capacity next week. A Saturday evaluation figures to help determine Newton's practice schedule moving forward, but fantasy owners can expect to start Newton at the regular season's onset.
Joe Webb - #14 - Quarterback - 6'4" - 230lbs
Tue. Aug 26, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Coach Ron Rivera confirmed Tuesday that he plans to keep Webb on the Panthers' 53-man roster as the team's third quarterback, the Associated Press reports.
Impact: With Cam Newton's health a bit uncertain after he suffered a hairline fracture to his ribs in last Friday's preseason game, the Panthers will enter the regular season with two backups on hand as insurance. With Derek Anderson locked in as the Panthers' No. 2 quarterback, Webb could be let go by the team once Newton is deemed completely healthy.
Tue. Aug 26, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Newton (ribs) received a vote of confidence from coach Ron Rivera that he'll be ready for the Panthers' regular-season opener, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Newton's preseason ended after he suffered a hairline fracture to his ribs in last Friday's preseason game. With the stiffness in his ribs reportedly dissipating with each day, the quarterback is fully expected to play Week 1 at Tampa Bay and should return to practice in some capacity before then. According to Rivera, the Panthers have set Saturday as a good benchmark day to evaluate Newton's progress, so an update on his upcoming practice schedule should be available then.
News: Johnson (hamstring) won't play in Thursday's preseason finale versus the Steelers.
Impact: Johnson's scheduled absence Thursday will mark his third DNP of the preseason. In addition, the veteran has missed a considerable amount of practice due to his hamstring issue. Nonetheless, Johnson is still expected to be ready for the regular season, and the Panthers are mostly just biding time with their proven defensive end.
Robert Lester - #38 - Safety - 6'1" - 225lbs
News: Lester (ankle) isn't participating in Monday's practice session.
Impact: Lester left with an ankle injury during Friday's preseason game and remains out for now while nursing the ailment. At the moment, it's unclear how long he'll be sidelined; however, in a welcomed development, veteran signing Roman Harper has returned from missing the entire preseason thus far due to turf toe. With Harper being the far more experienced option, the Panthers could aim to build his involvement toward a starting berth at strong safety in Week 1.
News: Hardy (shoulder) isn't participating in Monday's practice.
Impact: Hardy exited Friday's preseason game with a shoulder bruise, an ailment that has lingered to some degree in recent weeks. Given his importance, the Pro Bowler won't play in Thursday's final exhibition outing but is expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
Luke Kuechly - #59 - Linebacker - 6'3" - 238lbs
News: Kuechly is currently nursing a hyperextended right thumb, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Kuechly hurt his thumb in a recent preseason outing and will now sport a protective cast until the ailment subsides. Given that Thursday marks the Panthers' final exhibition contest, the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year will almost certainly sit out the entire game. Despite the injury, Kuechly is expected to be ready to play in Carolina's Week 1 opener at the Buccaneers and remains an elite IDP option for fantasy owners.
News: Newton has suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs and will not play in Thursday's preseason finale, the Associated Press reports.
Impact: Newton was struck by a cleat during Friday's preseason game, causing significant soreness to his ribs area that will probably keep him sidelined until the preseason's conclusion. At the moment, coach Ron Rivera thinks Newton will be ready to play for Carolina's regular season opener, which comes as good news to fantasy owners. Nonetheless, following offseason ankle surgery, Newton was featured in just two exhibition contests and showed a general lack of chemistry with his remodeled group of receivers. In fact, Newton completed just 12-of-21 passing attempts during preseason game action. That limited work had Newton slated to play in Thursday's final tune-up, but his latest setback will obviously prevent that catch-up opportunity. Expect Newton's status to be updated in advance of the Panthers' Week 1 game at Tampa Bay, where a ribs ailment could add to Newton's previous ankle and chemistry concerns.
News: Harper (toe) returned to practice Sunday, Panthers.com reports.
Impact: Harper has been out for several weeks while recovering from turf toe, so joining his new teammates in Sunday's practice is certainly a welcomed sight with the regular season quickly approaching. At the moment, it's unclear whether the Panthers' offseason signee will factor into Thursday's preseason finale, but his experience should allow him to play in Week 1, even if he misses a fourth exhibition outing. Health permitting, the veteran's presence should help Carolina at strong safety, where second-year player Robert Lester has received considerable action thus far.
News: Blackburn (back) returned to practice Sunday, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Blackburn has been sidelined for the Panthers' past two preseason contests, after tweaking his back over a week ago. That time off has seen A.J. Klein receive plenty of snaps in Carolina's competition to start at weakside linebacker. Although Klein intercepted a pass in last Sunday's exhibition game, the second-year player was beat in pass coverage for a touchdown Friday versus New England. As such, the more experienced Blackburn being able to suit up for Thursday's final preseason outing could help sort out the Panthers' depth chart.
Kealoha Pilares - #19 - Wide Receiver - 5'10" - 200lbs
News: Pilares was waived by the Panthers on Sunday.
Impact: Pilares had made his biggest impact on special teams, since joining the Panthers in 2011. However, he's failed to develop much as a receiver, leading to him being waived Sunday.
Brenton Bersin - #11 - Wide Receiver - 6'3" - 210lbs
News: Bersin has totaled five catches on eight targets for 90 yards and one touchdown during the Panthers' three preseason games thus far.
Impact: Bersin has emerged as Carolina's No. 4 wideout during camp and has impressed during his past two exhibition outings in particular. The local product showed fine concentration on a touchdown catch last weekend and ranked second in the Panthers' revamped receiving corp with 42 yards Friday versus the Patriots. At 6-3, 210 pounds, Bersin possesses great size and can also work in the slot. With his roster spot nearly sewn up, expect Bersin to be featured with the Panthers' first-team offense in some capacity during Thursday's preseason finale.
Tiquan Underwood - #11 - Wide Receiver - 6'1" - 185lbs
News: Underwood has been released by the Panthers, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Impact: Underwood signed a two-year deal with Carolina back in March, following a career year in Tampa. The speedy but slight wideout failed to stick with the Panthers, registering just one catch (on two targets) for five yards during three preseason games. While Underwood was initially thought to be a sleeper, or at least a deep threat in a remodeled Panthers' receiving corp, players like Brenton Bersin and Corey Brown have emerged as unheralded pass-catchers.
Sat. Aug 23, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Newton suffered a back contusion during Friday's preseason game against the Patriots when he was struck by a cleat during the first half of the contest, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Subsequent X-rays were negative and while coach Ron Rivera said afterward that Newton was sore. With the Panthers still looking to work on the timing of their passing game, the plan is to play Newton this coming Thursday in the team's preseason finale against the Steelers, health permitting.
News: Olsen (calf) caught two passes for 21 yards on four targets in Friday's preseason game against the Patriots.
Impact: The Panthers have done nothing to quiet the questions about their receiving corps, as Kelvin Benjamin's strong preseason has been surrounded by a whole lot of nothing from the other wideouts. It increasingly seems that Benjamin and Olsen will devour a high percentage of the targets, but the Panthers don't project as a prolific passing team, and still figure to favor their four-headed running game near the goal line. As for the calf injury, Olsen appears to be fine.
Jerricho Cotchery - #82 - Wide Receiver - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Cotchery was not targeted in Friday's preseason game the Patriots.
Impact: Cotchery still figures to open the season starting across from Kelvin Benjamin in two-wide sets, despite catching just one pass for eight yards through three preseason games. Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood have been similarly quiet, a theme that should carry into the regular season. Cotchery could perhaps emerge as one of Cam Newton's go-to guys for short and intermediate routes, but we've seen no glimpses of any such development this preseason.
News: Newton completed 8-of-12 passes for 88 yards in Friday's preseason game against the Patriots, adding 12 yards on three carries.
Impact: The numbers don't stick out as good or bad, but Newton took three sacks and failed to produce any points while playing through the first drive of the second half. While it's been a rough preseason for Carolina's first-team offense, Kelvin Benjamin's strong play is a major positive. It would be huge for Newton if Benjamin exceeds expectations, yet the rookie wideout can't do anything about a shaky offensive line, not to mention the rest of the receiving corps.
Kelvin Benjamin - #13 - Wide Receiver - 6'5" - 240lbs
News: Benjamin caught five passes for 47 yards on six targets in Friday's preseason game against the Patriots.
Impact: Benjamin was the lone bright spot for Carolina's first-team offense, which hasn't looked very good this preseason. The Panthers may have some trouble scoring this year, but it certainly seems that Benjamin will be Cam Newton's top target among the team's lackluster group of wideouts.
Robert Lester - #38 - Safety - 6'1" - 225lbs
News: Lester suffered an ankle injury in Friday's game and is doubtful to return, the Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones reports.
Impact: He's the Panthers' backup safety (behind Roman Harper), so this injury won't have any immediate fantasy impact.
News: Hardy left Friday's game with a shoulder bruise and will not return, the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person reports.
Impact: He dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in camp, and this sounds like more of the same. Hardy is a key part of what was one of the top defenses in the league last year, so this is definitely something to keep an eye on.
News: Blackburn (back) will not play in Friday's preseason game versus the Patriots, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Blackburn missed Carolina's latest exhibition contest after tweaking his back in practice last week and apparently the issue is more serious than initially anticipated. While surgery has not been discussed, Blackburn's back injury sounds like it carries the possibility of lingering into the beginning of the regular season. While that remains to be seen, A.J. Klein figures to start at weakside linebacker and will probably win the job for Week 1 considering Blackburn's inactivity.
News: Johnson (hamstring) will not play in Friday's exhibition outing against the Patriots, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Johnson overcame his hamstring issue to play in Sunday's most recent preseason game, but with another scheduled less than a week later, the veteran won't suit up Friday. Expect Johnson to continue to rest him hamstring to ensure he's ready to go at full speed once the regular season kicks off.
News: Harper (toe) won't play in Friday's preseason game versus the Patriots, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Harper's turf toe has sidelined him for the entire preseason slate thus far, marking the Panthers' most concerning current injury issue. Previously expected to start at strong safety, Harper's absences continues to allow second-year player Robert Lester added reps.
News: Olsen (calf) is expected to play in Friday's preseason game versus the Patriots, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Olsen sat out last Sunday's exhibition outing with a slight calf ailment, but has since returned to practice and will play Friday. With the Panthers' starters expected to feature for the entire first half, Olsen should get plenty of work to prepare for Week 1.
News: Newton (ankle) plans to play the entire first half of Friday's preseason game versus the Patriots, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Newton played five series in his preseason debut against Kansas City on Monday, when he went 4-of-9 for 65 yards passing in his first action since March ankle surgery. While he led the Panthers on two touchdown drives, Newton showed clear signs of needing extra work with his new receivers to build better chemistry. According to coach Ron Rivera, such an opportunity will come Friday, as Carolina's first-team offense is expected to play the entire first half in New England.
Tre Boston - #33 - Safety - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Boston (hernia) returned to Wednesday's practice as a limited participant.
Impact: Boston has been sidelined since aggravating a hernia injury on July 29, but fortunately was able to return in a limited capacity Wednesday. Considering the rookie fourth-rounder's time off, he'll likely be limited for the near future, before gearing his activity level up once he proves healthy enough to do so. With that in mind, it's unclear if Boston will be available for either of the Panthers' remaining preseason games.
News: Johnson (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.
Impact: Johnson also sat out Tuesday session, as he continues to nurse a slight hamstring ailment. While the veteran defensive end missed the better portion of last week as well, he did return in time to play Sunday's second preseason game. As such, it appears Johnson is merely biding time for his hamstring while practices remain of relatively little value for the veteran with 44 sacks over the past four seasons.
Tue. Aug 19, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Olsen (calf) took part in Tuesday's practice, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.
Impact: Olsen missed a preseason game and a couple days of practice with the calf injury, but his return indicates his setback was only minor. Barring any setbacks, he should be good to go for Week 1.
A.J. Klein - #56 - Linebacker - 6'1" - 245lbs
News: Klein started at strongside linebacker and posted three tackles (two solo) while also intercepting a pass in Sunday's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Impact: Klein is currently entrenched in a position battle with Chase Blackburn (back) to start at strongside linebacker for the Panthers this season. With Blackburn sidelined Sunday, Klein received significant playing time and forced a turnover by intercepting a pass and nearly returning it for a touchdown. The second-year player may have pulled ahead in the race to start, but the Panthers' two remaining preseason games will provide more room for evaluation.
Fozzy Whittaker - #43 - Running back - 5'10" - 202lbs
News: Whittaker led the Panthers with 13 rushes for 71 yards and one touchdown in Sunday's preseason game versus the Chiefs.
Impact: Whittaker also caught one pass for 22 yards. The reserve running back played very well Sunday, hitting the holes hard in the running game, while also showing the ability to elude would-be tacklers in the open field. In fact, on the heels of Sunday's stellar showing, Whittaker has now unseated Kenjon Barner on the Panthers' projected 53-man roster. With that in mind, Carolina's two remaining preseason games will be crucial for both Barner and Whittaker.
Brandon Williams - #86 - Tight End - 6'4" - 250lbs
News: Williams has four receptions on a team-high nine targets for 81 yards and one touchdown through the Panthers' first two preseason games.
Impact: Williams, a 6-4, 250 former basketball player, has impressed the Panthers' coaching staff going into his second season. The tight end hauled in a 31-yard touchdown in Carolina's opening preseason contest and added another 31-yard reception in Sunday's second exhibition outing. With unique athleticism and raw talent, Williams is considered a project that the Panthers are taking their time grooming. Nonetheless, his encouraging development should earn Williams playing time in two tight end sets with Greg Olsen, Carolina's unquestioned No. 1 tight end and quarterback Cam Newton's favorite target.
News: Blackburn (back) didn't play in Sunday's preseason game versus Kansas City.
Impact: Blackburn tweaked his back during practice last week, but fortunately an MRI was returned negative. Nonetheless, he sat out Sunday's second exhibition outing, allowing A.J. Klein to start at strongside linebacker. Furthermore, Klein intercepted a pass Sunday, which, coupled with Blackburn's injury, could thrust the second-year player in the lead to win a starting job at linebacker this season.
News: Harper (toe) did not play in the Panthers' second preseason game Sunday.
Impact: Harper's turf toe injury has kept him out of commission for both of the Panthers' preseason games thus far. Given his rest period, he could return to practice some time this week, but Carolina is expected to be cautious with their newly signed 31-year-old safety.
Charles Godfrey - #30 - Cornerback - 5'11" - 210lbs
News: Godfrey played in Sunday's second preseason game and made three tackles (two solo) versus Kansas City.
Impact: Godfrey sat out Carolina's opener with a sore Achilles but returned to action Sunday in his new nickel cornerback role. The converted safety played cornerback in college but showed clear signs of rust in his first NFL game at the position. As such, Godfrey could use the Panthers' final two exhibition outings to gain valuable experience in his new role before the regular season kicks off.
Kony Ealy - #94 - Defensive End - 6'4" - 275lbs
News: Ealy (foot) played in Sunday's second preseason game versus the Chiefs, Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer reports.
Impact: Ealy began the week in a protective boot to treat a mid-foot sprain, which he overcame in time to practice toward the end of the week and play Sunday. In fact, he took the field for Carolina's second defensive series and looked promising in pass-rush situations, although he did draw a late-hit personal foul penalty. While he remains behind both Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy at defensive end, Ealy could benefit from added playing time with Frank Alexander being suspended for the first four games of the regular season.
Tre Boston - #33 - Safety - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Boston (hernia) didn't play in Sunday's preseason game versus the Chiefs, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.
Impact: Boston started training camp on the Panthers' PUP list after undergoing hernia surgery in June. While he was activated ahead of practice on July 29, he unfortunately aggravated the injury during his first training session and has been out ever since. As of now, it's unclear how much longer the rookie fourth rounder will be sidelined, but he's losing ground in the Panthers' safety rotation for the upcoming campaign.
News: Johnson (hamstring) started Sunday's preseason game versus the Chiefs and recorded two solo tackles.
Impact: Johnson missed Carolina's opening preseason game after tweaking his hamstring a couple weeks ago but returned to practice toward the end of last week, enabling him to play Sunday. The defensive end started as usual and played without limitation, indicating his hamstring condition has improved.
Kelvin Benjamin - #13 - Wide Receiver - 6'5" - 240lbs
News: Benjamin had two catches on four targets for 41 yards during Sunday's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Impact: Benjamin finally got into a game with Cam Newton under center, and he was targeted twice (one catch for 24 yards) before playing the rest of the first half with Derek Anderson. Benjamin's role is very important for the Panthers this year, as they look to replace the production lost when they let Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell go, so each rep that Benjamin gets with Newton is a plus before the regular season.
Jonathan Stewart - #28 - Running back - 5'10" - 235lbs
News: Stewart (hamstring) had four carries for 26 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Impact: DeAngelo Williams started the game but did little before Stewart came in and immediately broke off a 17-yard run. Stewart's two touchdowns came from within the five-yard line, as he continues to be mentioned as a possible goal-line back. With the team looking to ease the wear-and-tear on quarterback Cam Newton throughout the season, the addition of goal-line carries would certainly be a boost to Stewart's value.
DeAngelo Williams - #34 - Running back - 5'9" - 215lbs
News: Williams had three carries for nine rushing yards and one catch on one target for five receiving yards in Sunday's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Impact: Williams started the game but didn't do much in his limited time. However, he was then vastly-outplayed by Jonathan Stewart, who ran four times for 26 yards and two touchdowns, which came on runs of two and three yards. Fozzy Whittaker also had a solid performance, rushing 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown, although Stewart remains Williams' main competition for carries. There's now talk that Stewart could get a few goal-line looks, which essentially make Williams the third option in close, following Stewart and quarterback Cam Newton.
News: Newton (ankle) made his preseason debut Sunday against the Chiefs, completing 4-of-9 passes for 65 yards while playing nearly the entire first half.
Impact: Newton was understandably rusty at the beginning, throwing incompletions on 5-of-6 passes to start, but he settled down and eventually led the Panthers on two scoring drives. He didn't register a rushing attempt during the game, although his surgically-repaired ankle didn't seem to be a factor.
Sat. Aug 16, 2014 | STATS
News: Newton will see his first game action since undergoing ankle surgery in March when the Panthers host the Kansas City Chiefs.
Impact: Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he expects Newton to play at least a quarter on Sunday night, but he could see additional action depending on how well the offensive line protects him. It may also depend on whether Newton can control his competitive urges to take off and run from the pocket.